The Power of Partnering with Partners
It takes partners to support partners. When North American believers join Live Global in serving national leaders and friends, the journey impacts everyone. A glimpse into the reflections of one such partner give us insight into that impact. As if reading a page out of a servant-traveler's journal, Carol lets us hear about the journey she and husband experienced when they engaged in the Soura Leader Development retreat. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to go partner with partners, this is your chance to know.
We watched as their buses pulled up and they gathered their belongings and stepped off the bus and into the hotel for a special retreat planned just for them. They were very quiet as they stood in the lobby, mostly separated with men lining one wall and women the other. When we smiled and made eye contact and waved, a few timidly smiled back or nodded a shy greeting. They were out of their comfort zone as many of them had never ridden a train or a bus, stayed in a hotel, or even used a toilet. We were also out of our comfort zone, but for a few days, our very different cultures would happily collide.
They were just as subdued when we stood in line with them to be served our dinner. As they drifted into the meeting room for worship and teaching and found a place at a table, for the first time we were able to see them together as couples. When they began singing, amazing sound and energy filled the room. They swayed and clapped as they sang praises to the Lord in their own language. We were unable to join in because we were unfamiliar with the melody and did not speak their language. Instead we watched their faces and marveled that even though there were language and cultural barriers, we had the most important thing in common—love for Jesus and the truths shared from the Bible. After the evening teaching session ended and they began to leave, couples left together. They were not nearly as shy when they smiled or waved to us. We wondered if they were just becoming more comfortable with us, or if they were also embracing the realities that were gently and lovingly shared about our value in the eyes of God, love, marriage, oneness, intimacy, and shared service.
The next morning as we gathered for worship and another teaching session, the volume in the room was noticeably higher than it was the day before. They seemed to be sharing more eagerly with one another when they gathered as couples into small groups, their smiles were bigger, and laughter came quickly. Several women, still a little shy, came up to us to smile, grasp our hands, or pat our arms. Openness replaced timidity and fear. We didn’t need to share the same language to show kindness and care, but how we wished we could have talked together. We would likely have found out quickly how very much we did have in common simply because we were women and sisters in Christ.
Their laughter was music as they bent over their tables, putting together puzzles that bore the theme of the retreat. They giggled and laughed as their husbands drew pictures of their families. They were relaxed and comfortable and were enjoying the moments. Wives reached across the tables to pat and squeeze the hands of their artist-husbands. Everyone cheered when a winner was chosen from the forty hand-drawn sketches.
They listened intently as they were reminded of who they are in Christ, how they are image-bearers and equals in the sight of God, and how their marriages are a picture of Christ and His church. They did not hesitate, when challenged, to confess their faults to one another, and affirm their love and commitment to their sacred covenant, both to each other and to God. Once-shy and timid couples now held onto each other as they prayed together as partners in marriage, parenting, and ministry.
When our time together ended, we said goodbye as friends and no longer strangers. We exchanged tight hugs of fondness and gratitude, stood together as countless photos were taken, and shared huge smiles that radiated joy and happiness. How different the good-byes were from the hello’s. Our own hearts were full as we contemplated the eternal impact these few days together might have on marriages, homes, churches, and the communities.
Interested in being a partner to partners? Live Global has opportunities for you to serve. Take a look HERE and let us know what questions you have. We'd love to start a conversation with you.